By Charles K Mark
President Salva Kiir has directed the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. James Morgan Pitia, to address the financial challenges facing the country’s foreign missions.
Kiir issued the directives to Amb. Morgan yesterday during his swearing-in.
The president urged the newly appointed minister to bring his diverse expertise and insights to the table, emphasizing the need for a collaborative approach to advancing the nation’s foreign policy and the welfare of the staff in the foreign missions.
Meanwhile, Dr. Morgan, after taking his oath, vowed to do his best to build participatory leadership in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the effective execution of its mandate.
South Sudan foreign missions have been facing a series of financial challenges as Juba delays releasing money for foreign missions.
In 2021, Information Minister Michael Makuei told the media that South Sudan was on the verge of losing membership in various international organizations due to defaulting on paying membership fees.
However, the Council of Ministers then approved a sum of USD 100 million for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clear salary, rent, and membership arrears and debts owed to regional and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).
In 2015, the country cut back on the number of its diplomats, reportedly due to financial crises occasioned by the conflict that broke out in December 2013.
But since then, South Sudan has been struggling to settle and smoothly maintain the operations of its foreign missions abroad.
Up until his new appointment, Amb. Pitia served in different portfolios in the country’s foreign missions, with the most recent being South Sudan’s head of mission to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
He was at the same time accredited as the Permanent Representative of South Sudan to the African Union (AU) and a member of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee of Ambassadors.
Before the Ethiopian, AU, and IGAD assignments, Amb. Pitia served from 2014 to 2016 as South Sudan’s deputy ambassador to Kenya.
In 2012, Mr. Morgan was the deputy head of mission of the South Sudan embassy in New Delhi, India.
From 2009 to 2011, Morgan served as deputy head of mission in the Republic of Sudan, Jakarta, and Indonesia.
Along the way, Ambassador Morgan has played great roles, notable among which is his bigger role in representing South Sudan in the international arena through the African Union.
While with the African Union, he pushed the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to ensure South Sudan got out of the 2013 bloodshed.
He also played a great role in the coordination of the South Sudan peace initiative in 2016 and made partners to gain trust in the young nation.